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I grew up watching Silly Symphony shorts. I remember just how excited I was every time one would pop up in the middle of my cartoon viewing. Just like the Disney Shorts of today, the Silly Symphonies were used as a testing ground for new techniques by the animators at Walt Disney Studios. Mark Henn even mentioned The Old Mill during our chat while talking about testing out new processes.
The Silly Symphony concert was one of the many highlights of D23 EXPO. Hosted by Leonard Maltin, we were given a behind the scenes look at the Silly Symphony history.
Disney in Concert: A Silly Symphony Celebration also featured a 32-piece orchestra playing in synchronization to newly restored digital masters of the original films.
I try to just let the magic happen during moments like this, but I confess to wondering “how did they do that?” the entire time. I can’t imagine that playing live as an orchestra in sync with animation without benefit of an editing bay is very easy. We watched them perform classics like The Three Little Pigs, The Old Mill and my favorite, The Ugly Duckling.
The Silly Symphony Collection is also available now for pre-order from Walt Disney Records and Fairfax Classics. It includes a digital download for the entire set. The box set contains restored soundtracks to all 75 Silly Symphony shorts. That’s over 8 hours of music! It also contains original animation art and liner notes for every short from Disney historians J.B. Kaufman and Russell Merritt. As a bonus, if you pre-order the collection you’ll receive a free limited edition 10” vinyl single featuring “The Skeleton Dance” on the A side and “Three Little Pigs” on the B side.
Follow my full coverage from the D23 EXPO!